Stepping into the worn brick building that serves as the Huntington County Boys & Girls Club is like walking into a deafening mixture of sounds.
The halls and rooms echo with the sound of children playing: balls bouncings, feet smacking on tile and loud, screechy voices. A few children play basketball, while others occupy their time in the homework room or play games on the Nintendo Wii.
Since 2001, the Huntington County Boys & Girls Club has served as a place for elementary, middle and high school students to play and work on school work. However, their purpose is more than helping students academically.
“The Boys & Girls Club’s main mission is to help kids reach their potential as citizens and students,” Sarah Wust, art coordinator and alumna, said.
Wust started working at the Boys & Girls Club in January, leading a photo and design technology program. The club also offers leadership programs, health classes and mentoring.
The social work program has been sending student volunteers to the Club since the fall of 2005.
“The students provide one-on-one time that sometimes the Boys & Girls staff don’t have the flexibility of doing,” Carla MacDonald, assistant professor of social work, said. “A lot of times that one-on-one is just talking if someone had a bad day at school.”
Amanda Shoup, a senior social work major, helped out with The Boys & Girls Club during her freshman year through her Introduction to Social Work class.
“It was an interesting experience,” Shoup said. “We got to work not only with the kids but also with the staff.”
She said it was stressful for her at times because of the different age groups that the club cares for.
“I think that was a good experience because I think that you’re going to have that in basically any job,” she said. “There’s always going to be chaos in some form.”
The Huntington Boys & Girls Club is open from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. For information on how to volunteer, email Carla MacDonald.